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‘Private hospitals developing protocol to receive international medical tourists’

Association develops protocol for resuming medical tourism services after pressure from sector

By Maram Kayed - Jun 28,2020 - Last updated at Jun 28,2020

Private hospitals have expressed that they are willing to take in and treat medical tourists, adhering to government-issued protocol in the case that a coronavirus infection is discovered among their patients (JT file photo)

AMMAN — After continuous pressure from the tourism sector, particularly the medical tourism sub-sector, to resume air travel, the Jordan Private Hospitals Association has announced that it is developing a protocol for the arrival of medical tourists from abroad.

President of the Jordan Private Hospitals Association Fawzi Hammouri said in remarks to The Jordan Times that the association has submitted a list of 13 Jordanian hospitals that are equipped to start receiving medical tourists to the National Epidemiological Committee.

“We are asking the committee to develop a protocol that allows tourists from countries with moderate risk levels to enter the Kingdom, as that is both a humane and economic obligation that we must take on,” Hammouri said.

A suggested protocol stipulates that private hospitals will receive patients arriving from other countries and look after them until they leave the Kingdom, a responsibility which hospitals have indicated their willingness to undertake.

“We are willing to receive cases of medical tourists, and in the event that a coronavirus infection is discovered, it will then be reported and dealt with according to the approved medical protocol for these cases,” said a board member at the Islamic Hospital who preferred to remain anonymous.

“We cannot deprive thousands of patients of a needed medical treatment in fear of a virus infection that might not be there, especially since Jordanian hospitals are equipped to both prevent and deal with an infection,” the board member said.

According to Hammouri, if the proposal is approved, each tourist entering the Kingdom for medical purposes will have to undergo a coronavirus test no more than three days before they travel to Jordan. They will be tested again upon arrival.

“At the end of each patient’s treatment, they will be given the choice to either directly return to their homeland or be booked at a hotel at their own expense for a two-week quarantine period, after which they can tour the Kingdom freely,” he added.

However, government sources have repeatedly denied claims that the airports will reopen, despite several rumours being circulated online and among the public that Queen Alia International Airport will reopen on July 15.

“Medical tourists obviously cannot come in if normal tourists cannot, but we are hoping that as various economic sectors open back up, especially the tourism sector, our cries will be heard. Medical tourists are also tourists, so that is two sectors — health and tourism — that will benefit from such a decision,” the board member at the Islamic Hospital said.

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